Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on August 15, 2013

Written by Becky Witt

Chairman Fogleman and Commissioner Smith heard hearings; Commissioner Jones was not in attendance.

The hearings are summarized below in the order in which they appeared on the docket.

1:00 pm hearings

Applicant Diana Coyle
Business Name Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits, LLC
Trading As Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits
Address 3831 Boston Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership and location of a Class “D”BWL license from a contract purchaser presently located at 601 S. Clinton Street to 3831 Boston Street
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski, the licensee’s attorney, submitted three exhibits during the hearing. He presented two letters of support for the wine store, one from Canton Community Association and one from Councilman Jim Craft. He also offered a petition showing local support for the wine store. Chairman Fogleman examined the petition and stated that it contained around sixty signatures in support of the wine store.

The licensee testified that the wine store will be 3,000 square feet and will include a bar; the store will sell wine at different price points. Its hours of operation will be 10am to 10pm. The store will have six employees; Ms. Coyle will hire from the community if possible.

The store has cost $800,000 to open; Ms. Coyle has invested $300,000 of her own assets and secured $500,000 in financing from PNC.

In the application, Ms. Coyle said that she would be managing the store herself; however, in the hearing, Ms. Coyle said that she was in the process of hiring a manager for the store with five years’ experience, but she will be present at the store three or four days per week. The target opening date for the store is January 1.

Zoning B-2-2 (Community Business District)
Neighborhood Canton Industrial Area/td>
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, but Canton Crossing Wine & Sprits, LLC was incorporated after the hearing, on August 26, 2013. When the hearing took place on August 15, 2013, the LLC had not yet been formed. The Liquor Board did not comment on this during the hearing.
Location of entity’s principal office 3831 Boston Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs?

Unclear. Diana Coyle is the sole applicant. The application stated that she is not a city resident but has property on which tax is paid in her name. However, in the hearing, Ms. Coyle testified that she is a resident of Baltimore City, in Federal Hill.

The application states that Ms. Coyle shares a 50% ownership of the wine store with R & F Operation LLC, 1453 Patapsco Street. SDAT does not have a record of R & F Operation, LLC, and the application does not explain the specifics of the shared 50% ownership. The other 50% of the business, according to the application, is owned by MCS Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits, LLC; this LLC is in good standing according to SDAT.

Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%?
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Md Code Art. 2B § 10-202(a) (“Before approving an application and issuing a license, the board shall consider: 1) The public need and desire for the license; 2) The number and location of existing licensees and the potential effect on existing licensees of the license applied for; 3) The potential commonality or uniqueness of the services and products to be offered by the applicant’s business; 4) The impact on the general health, safety, and welfare of the community, including issues relating to crime, traffic conditions, parking, or convenience; and 5) Any other necessary factors as determined by the board.”)
Other reasons given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case Finding 2 of the Audit states that the BLLC frequently issued licenses without receiving all required documentation from licensees or applicants. The auditors recommended that BLLC obtain documentation of payment of personal property taxes for all businesses licensed by the board. Since Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits LLC did not exist at the time of the hearing, the application did not contain any SDAT information about the business.
Applicant Geoffrey Danek
Business Name Holy Frijoles, Inc.
Trading As Holy Frijoles
Address 908-12 W. 36th Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for a new Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Rule 2.08 requiring $200,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski introduced six exhibits at the hearing. He introduced a letter in support of the application from the Hampden Merchants Association and a petition in support of the application from Holy Frijoles customers. Chairman Fogleman examined the petitioners’ names and addresses and stated that most of the signatories seemed to live in Hampden. The applicant also introduced a breakdown of the $465,000 capital investment going into the restaurant, a seating chart floor plan showing 79 seats for dining patrons, photos of the inside of the restaurant, and two menus.

The applicant testified that Holy Frijoles has been in business for seventeen years with no problems from the community or law enforcement. Holy Frijoles already has been licensed to serve beer, wine and liquor six out of seven days of the week; this application is for an additional/seventh day to serve alcohol.

The applicant stated that the live entertainment applied for would be “pretty light” since there is not a lot of space dedicated to music.

The file did not have SDAT information for the three citizen character witnesses/signatories, who are required to be Baltimore City property owners. Chairman Fogleman noted this lack in the file and stated that the Liquor Board staff would look the witnesses up on SDAT before the Board issues the license.

Zoning B-2-2 (Community Business District)
Neighborhood Hampden
Area demographics 77% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 18% households have children under age 18; median household income: $54,278
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 908 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 100%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Md Code Art. 2B § 10-202(a) (“Before approving an application and issuing a license, the board shall consider: 1) The public need and desire for the license; 2) The number and location of existing licensees and the potential effect on existing licensees of the license applied for; 3) The potential commonality or uniqueness of the services and products to be offered by the applicant’s business; 4) The impact on the general health, safety, and welfare of the community, including issues relating to crime, traffic conditions, parking, or convenience; and 5) Any other necessary factors as determined by the board.”)
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case N/A
Applicant Byung In Min & Leroy Henry
Business Name MK Liquors, LLC
Trading As trade name pending
Address 3716 W. Belvedere Ave.
Type of License BD7 Beer, Wine & Liquor (Tavern, alcohol may be sold for consumption on site or off premises, privilege granted from 6 am to 2 am)
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

The two applicants for this license are Leroy Henry and Byung In Min. Mr. Henry is a Baltimore City resident, but Mr. Min is not. Mr. Min is “an experienced operator of liquor stores.” The attorney for the applicants, Mr. Whitaker, introduced an alcohol management training certificate for Mr. Min to the BLLC as an exhibit.

The attorney stated that the two applicants had contacted two neighborhood associations, including the Development Corporation of Northwest Baltimore. One neighborhood association did not reply to the attorney or applicants; the other one did not choose to oppose the liquor store. The attorney stated that these two attempts at outreach to the community were sufficient due diligence.

Mr. Min stated that he owns another liquor store in Prince George’s County and that there had been two open container violations in the past six years. Mr. Min testified that the employees responsible had been terminated and that the alcohol purchasers had taken responsibility for both infractions. Chairman Fogleman noted that the Baltimore City Liquor Board takes infractions very seriously and warned the applicants to be diligent.

The application did not include the name, address, and phone number of the owner of the building. Mr. Min stated that he owns the building with his wife and provided as an exhibit a copy of the deed of property transfer to Mr. Min and his wife. Chairman Fogleman told Mr. Min that he should amend his application to reflect that ownership.

In the application for this license, Mr. Henry checked “yes” after the question “Have you been found guilty of an offence against the laws of the United States?” but left the blank the space provided for details of the offense. The liquor commissioners did not ask about this omission in the hearing.

Zoning R-6 (General Residence District)
Neighborhood Arlington
Area demographics 2% White, 94% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 63% households have children under age 18; median household income: $28,815
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3714-16 W. Belvedere Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 50%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Joshua Whitaker
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Md Code Art. 2B § 10-202(a) (“Before approving an application and issuing a license, the board shall consider: 1) The public need and desire for the license; 2) The number and location of existing licensees and the potential effect on existing licensees of the license applied for; 3) The potential commonality or uniqueness of the services and products to be offered by the applicant’s business; 4) The impact on the general health, safety, and welfare of the community, including issues relating to crime, traffic conditions, parking, or convenience; and 5) Any other necessary factors as determined by the board.”)
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case The auditors recommended that BLLC properly document the review of criminal history records for all applicants. There was no evidence of any such review in the file or in the hearing.

2:00 pm docket

Applicant Paul Ernst & Tim Ernst
Business Name 2933 O’Donnell Street, LLC
Trading As Shiso Tavern
Address 2933 O’Donnell Street
Type of License Class B Beer, Wine & Liquor License.
Reason for hearing Request to add live entertainment
Hearing notes

The two applicants, Paul and Tim Ernst, represented themselves before the Liquor Board.

The applicants presented a Memorandum of Understanding which the business had negotiated with the Canton Community Association. The agreement says that Shiso Tavern may have live entertainment Wednesday through Sunday, up to a two-piece combo, acoustic guitar, and/or karaoke. For occasional special events or private parties, Shiso Tavern can have a three-piece band. The restaurant must keep the sound in check and the doors and windows shut. No flyers or handbills. On Friday and Saturday nights, the entertainment can go until 12am; on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights, the entertainment must end at 11pm.

Zoning B-2-2 (Community Business District)
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2933 O’Donnell Street, Baltimore, MD 21224.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 50%
Attorney for licensee None/unrepresented.
# in support 2
Attorney for community None.
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Approved, subject to MOU’s restrictions.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision Md Code Art. 2B § 10-202(a) (“Before approving an application and issuing a license, the board shall consider: 1) The public need and desire for the license; 2) The number and location of existing licensees and the potential effect on existing licensees of the license applied for; 3) The potential commonality or uniqueness of the services and products to be offered by the applicant’s business; 4) The impact on the general health, safety, and welfare of the community, including issues relating to crime, traffic conditions, parking, or convenience; and 5) Any other necessary factors as determined by the board.”)
Other reasons given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case N/A

1118 S. Charles Street T/a Banditos – The hearing was postponed, because the attorney for the licensee, Peter Prevas, did not show up to the hearing.

Applicant Victoria Schassler
Business Name Mac Gillivray’s Business, LLC
Trading As Spirits of Mount Vernon
Address 900 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes Mr. Kodenski, on behalf of the licensee, testified that the licensee should be able to sell the license within the next extension.
Zoning B-4-2 (Central Business District)
Neighborhood Mount Vernon
Area demographics 52% White, 32% Black, 7% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; median household income: $35,393
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1221 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A (hardship extension)
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None.
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Approved.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case N/A
Licensee Michael Seay
Business Name United Association, Inc.
Trading As Whispers
Address 1807-11 Baker Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

The licensee did not show up for hearing. When Chairman Fogleman double-checked to make sure that notice was sent to the licensee, he found in the file the returned letter giving notice of the hearing. The licensee’s forwarding time on his address on file had expired. The new address given for the licensee was in Riverside, California. Chairman Fogleman asked that the licensee be issued a show-cause letter to see why he did not come to the hearing and asked that the agency make sure to send the letter to the updated address in Riverside, California.

Zoning B-1-2 (Neighborhood Business District)
Neighborhood Sandtown-Winchester
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 0% Hispanic ethnicity; 73% households have children under age 18; median household income: $23,974
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no
Location of entity’s principal office 3912 Maine Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21207
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Postponed.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case N/A

The scheduled hearing for 911 W. 36th Street was also postponed, because Peter Prevas did not show up to the hearing to represent his clients.

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